I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been asked about my university experience. I get asked at least once a week wether I’m enjoying it or how it’s going and the truth is that I never really know what to say. I usually tend to mumble something vague like ‘yeah it’s good’ or ‘yeah I’m working on this’ but other than that, I never know how to sum it up.
Now I’m officially back, it’s really strange. Sometimes I think about the past two years of studying and can’t actually believe I went through it. It feels like it’s gone way too quickly but when I’m actually there, each day seems to last forever. Being a third year is so surreal. It blows my mind that I got this far. It’s hit me just now that I have a dissertation to write. HELP. So in an attempt to sum it all up and work out how I really feel about my experience – I decided to write about it.
If I had to sum everything up in a sentence I’d say that I feel indifferent about university. Sometimes it’s really good but the lows have been so bad too. Talking about it just makes me even more confused. It’s especially hard when friends ask me for advice about going to uni because I try to stay on both sides of the arguments for and against it.
Has it been worth the money? I mean, well personally – no. The degree itself is way too much to pay – let alone the expense for everything outside of that. I’m ridiculously deep in invisible debt already and it’s terrifying to think I’ll be leaving with so much to pay back. In my opinion, the education and experience wasn’t worth the huge expense.
Maybe part of it is because I went to a relatively rubbish uni and I think most people I know at Christchurch would agree. If I’d gone to Oxford maybe I’d have something different to say here. The funny thing is, I applied for five unis and got into all of them. But the one I chose was the worst. In official rankings, my uni is 108 out of 121, so that’s not a great sign (some of my others were 35 and 25 in the tables). Despite that, I don’t hate my university. I just know that it’s a bit crap.
I don’t think my indifference is down to my choice to commute rather than live at university. I don’t mind at all that I chose to live at home because I’m super easily annoyed by other people, I’m a complete control freak and I worship my personal space. Simply, the commute has never fazed me. I was never desperate for that ‘full uni experience’ nor do I feel like I missed out on it because I didn’t move out.
And it’s nothing to do with the choice of my course either. As a Film, Radio & TV student, I’ve had flack in the past for having chosen a creative course over something stereotypically clever and important like the Sciences, History or English. People have said that maybe if I’d picked something ‘more important’ than a media course I’d feel like I got more for my money, but I disagree. Both the skills and academic education I’ve obtained over the past few years have been great. I’ve been interested and excited by my chosen subject throughout and know that it’s just as valuable as other courses, so that’s not the problem.
Then again – did I even pick the right course? Who knows. I enjoy what I do so much and it would make me happy to work in my field of study but was it the right decision? I’m sure I want to work in the creative industries, but being at university hasn’t helped me pinpoint exactly what I should be doing with my life. If anything I’m more confused than I was before.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned so much. (Don’t let the pictures fool you, I hate using the camera). I love campus, the facilities I’ve had access to are great and my lecturers are generally really helpful – but do I feel like it was worth £9,250+ a year? Hell no.
There are times when university has actually been an inconvenience. I’ve had industry job offers I could have taken, paid internships and experience that only wanted me if I wasn’t already studying and I know my darling Natalie would agree here. We both want to work in areas that don’t have a direct route – it’s not like doing a veterinary degree to become a vet. So, it’s odd to think that for us, we could be further ahead in our careers if we’d even never studied at all.
So, as I begin my third and final year – it’s safe to say that I definitely don’t regret my choice. But am I completely satisfied? Am I certain of my next steps? Do I know where I’m going? No. Uni doesn’t solve your problems like that. There’s a feeling I can’t ignore, a feeling of ‘oh, I thought it’d be somewhat more than this‘.
Whilst my degree might be wrong, whilst my uni was a little bit crap, whilst nothing is set in stone for my future like I’d hoped for – it’s still helped shape the person I am right now. The leap into university was the confidence push I’d always needed but never knew would happen.
And it’s a little bit of a cliché, but to be honest, I’m an entirely different person than I was when I started and god, I am so thankful for that. I’ve been through so much in my relationships and friendships. I’ve lost so many people whilst I was trying to figure things out at uni and I’ve learned lessons about the kind of people I want around me. Some of my best friends hurt me. I fell in love, got broken in two and healed myself all over again. I was cheated on, lied to and betrayed when I was at uni but, all of it has shaped the person I am today.
Going to university proved to me how strong, intelligent and opinionated I am. It reminded me of my passion and my talent. It ignited so many wonderful parts of me that I hadn’t seen before. It’s motivated me beyond belief and I am so proud of some of the work I’ve produced in the past few years. It might actually be worth the stress of lazy classmates not pulling their weight, writing essays till 4am and the anxiety attacks over ultimately unimportant details. I’m glad I went.
Now, let’s try and survive this final year shall we?
Hope you enjoyed this look inside my mind on day three of #BackToUniWeek. Tune in tomorrow for more!